"Innovation is CREATIVITY that ships" (Steve Jobs). Not a PowerPoint slidedeck.

The TWEET View

  • Turnaround of T-Mobile (used as a case study for a classroom discussion)
  • Write a living turnaround plan that identifies the work, the “working together” and the answer to the question “what do you want me to do?”
  • Engage and empower the stakeholders to think together to enhance collective intelligence
  • Execution mantra (operational excellence by design)
  • T-Mobilization of customers to deliver a seamless multichannel experience and increase stickiness


Given the dynamics of the changing telecom ecosystem and the seismic shift in what buyers value, most of the carriers are often caught in a zone oscillating choice between product differentiation and cost leadership. This challenge imposes a mandate for market followers to reclaim lost marketshare (due to earlier misexecutions) and deliver innovations that lead to the creation of experiences that capture the customer’s imagination.

A recent survey conducted by eMarketer revealed that 68% of consumers’ smartphone use happens at home. The continuum of smarphone use spans across the following (Harvard Business Review, Jan 2013):

  • Self-expression – Participation in hobbies and interests (1%)
  • Discovery – Seeking news and information (4%)
  • Preparation – planning for upcoming activities (7%)
  • Accomplishing – Managing finances, health and productivity (11%)
  • Shopping – Seeking a product or service (12%)
  • Socializing – Interacting with other people (19%)

Understanding such a scenario and confronting the customer moments of truth is a not-to-miss opportunity for any brand to create an effective turnaround plan for corporate renewal. We analyze the business challenges facing T-Mobile in this case study.

Critical Success Factors

In order to achieve the objective of increasing shareholder value, a subset of critical success factors include the following:

  • Increase the relationship capital of business processes with an outside in customer focus.
  • Capture uncontested marketspace by breaking the value/cost tradeoff.
  • Institutionalize operational excellence by design (Apple CEO Tim Cook’s values)
  • X-ray and simplify everything using the “law of subtraction” and eliminate waste (i.e., avoid shareholder value destruction).

My Intent

The questions that I’d like to explore are the following:

    • What is the underlying business model for navigating in the Collaboration Economy (TM) “rooted in an emerging human culture of access, openness and trust?”
    • What is the essence of the FISO (Fitting In and Standing Out) mindset so that it can cement connections, increase organizational learning and create the foundation for a performance-centered growth engine?

FISO Factor for TMO macro level

    • How to reinvigorate the brand by becoming a cross-cultural learner with a BRICs and Clicks view of a multipolar world and promote the pursuit of frugal innovations (or “jugaad” in Hindi)? (BRIC: Brazil, Russia, India, China)

Clicks and BRIC Strategy (rapid growth) macro level

Jugaad is a colloquial Hindi word that roughly translates as “an innovative fix for your business; an improvised solution born from ingenuity and cleverness.” We can localize jugaad in other languages — Brazilian, Russian, Chinese, etc — to obtain a multicultural viewpoint.

Viewed through the lens of throughput operating strategy, using the twin strategies of Adaptation and Arbitrage (2 A’s) will enable T-Mobile compete more effectively for the future.

  • Adaptation – Increase T-Mobile’s local relevance while serving underserved markets to claim uncontested marketspace
  • Arbitrage – Balance supply and demand by leveraging CAGE differences between national or regional markets


  • Degrees of Freedom: Mine the collective intelligence of the workforce for innovations and establish sustainable partnerships
  • Constraints: Market, cost and resource constraints


The success of a turnaround hinges on measuring and managing while ensuring a phased transition from the emergency stage to the stabilization stage and eventually to the return to growth stage.

A detailed narrative of the envisioned turnaround of T-Mobile from a customer-centric viewpoint can be found here.

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